Arctic Cold Returns, But Another January Thaw Will Provide Relief Late Week

Chris Dolce
Published: January 16, 2018

Arctic air has returned east of the Rockies, but another January thaw is likely to bring relief from the shivering temperatures starting later this week.

Wind chills in the 20s to 40s below zero gripped parts of eastern Montana, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota Monday morning and again early Tuesday. This bout of extreme cold is associated with a second Arctic blast that is sweeping south and eastward midweek.

(MORE: Winter Storm Central)

The first shot of Arctic air in this colder weather pattern arrived late last week and sent the actual air temperature as low as 47 degrees below zero Saturday morning in Cando, Langdon and Munich, North Dakota.


Current Wind Chills

The National Weather Service has issued wind chill advisories in the South for this latest round of bitterly cold air. A wind chill warning is also in effect for Deep South Texas.


Wind Chill Alerts

Here's a look at how long you'll shiver before relief arrives.

Bitterly Cold Arctic Blast Early Week

  • An Alberta Clipper low-pressure system has already ushered in a reinforcing shot of Arctic air into the Midwest and northern/central Plains.
  • That batch of cold air swept into the southern Plains and Ohio Valley Tuesday and is now pushing toward the Southeast and mid-Atlantic into Wednesday.
  • Wind chills have once again plunged to bitterly cold levels in the north-central U.S. states this week, ranging from the 20s below zero to the 40s below zero, with wind chills in the 20s below zero as far south as northern Missouri and northern Kansas.
  • Lows in the teens and single-digits will surge into the mid-South by Wednesday, with even lower wind chills.
  • This cold weather pattern is unlikely to set many record lows like we saw in early January, but a few are possible.


Forecast AM Lows

January to Close With Another Thaw

Forecast guidance suggests that after we get past the early-week cold shot, a milder temperature regime will become established from the Plains to the East Coast starting late this week.

High temperatures are likely to be near or above average in most areas east of the Rockies by Friday or Saturday.


Warming Trend Late Week

The pattern change will feature a building ridge of high pressure over the north-central Pacific, which will induce an overall southward dip in the jet stream across the western states, according to an extended forecast outlook from The Weather Company, an IBM Business.

This, in turn, will force the jet stream to ride farther north in the eastern states, keeping cold air bottled up to the north.

The milder weather pattern may stick around in the eastern states into the final full week of January.

(MORE: 10-Day Forecast Temperatures)


Temperature Outlook

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center indicates in the latest 6- to 10-day outlook that most areas east of the Mississippi River have a 50 percent or greater chance of above-average temperatures during the Jan. 22-26 period.


The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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